Sometimes, you just need to block the world out. That was the reason that I asked (okay, pestered) my company’s facilities team for some yellow caution tape. Yeah, you could say subtlety is one of my strengths.
I taped up the caution tape over my cubical doorway, and went to work, happily undisturbed. I did this for a few days until it was mentioned to me that the tape made me seem unapproachable.
Were I independently wealthy, I would have answered. “Yeah. Your point being.”
But I like paychecks and that would have also have been rude.
Goodbye, caution tape. Hello, approachability.
At one time, God Himself was also unapproachable. In the temple of ancient Israel, between the Holy of Holies — where His glory rested above the Ark of the Covenant — and the Holy Place, there was a large veil.
We need to stop and discuss a few things. Holy means “set apart” so the Holy of Holies is “the most separate of the set apart places.” Kinda lets you know you’re dealing with the sacred and sublime.
Secondly, this veil wasn’t the kind of veil you see in weddings or images of Oriental women. It’s not tulle or organza or gauze. It’s fine linen of purple, blue, and scarlet with needlework of Cherubim. Based on some quick research and math, it may have been 15 feet tall. This heavy curtain separated the Ark from the rest of the Tabernacle.
Only the High Priest was allowed inside the Holy of Holies once a year. He had a specific list of actions to follow, including washing himself so he would be clean before he entered with the blood which he would then sprinkle on the Mercy Seat to provide atonement for the people. (Lev. 16)
This was the prescribed way of approaching God.
How much better we have it now.
Numbered with the Transgressors
After 400 years of silence — when God stopped speaking to His people through the prophets — He didn’t just send a new message, He sent the Word. He approached us (John 1:14).
That is the heart of the gospel. That we could not find God or reach Him, but He reaches down to us in the flesh.
When Jesus died, there was no need for the temple because through Jesus we are able to approach God. That veil then that separated us was torn in two (Matt 27:51, Luke 23:45). God is no longer unapproachable!
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. — Hebrew 10:19-23 (emphasis mine)
Not only are we allowed to approach Him on our own, we have the best reason to: He is our heavenly Father.
No Longer Transgressors
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! — I John 3:1
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God… 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. — Romans 8:14, 17
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! — Matthew 7:11
Though our fathers will always fall short, no matter how wonderful they are, God is always the Father we can turn to when we have sinned, when we need comfort, when everyone else forsakes us.
On Sunday we can appreciate our earthly fathers and also give thanks for a God that chose to adopt us into His family, and that there is no caution tape around His throne.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.